But, there’s more – it became an owner of Elaphiti islands including Lokrum, Koločep and Šipan, and other near ones.
This fact you have to know! Dubrovnik was the first to have a sewerage system while great cities like London and Paris did it hundreds of years later.
Another interesting fact is that in 1317, Dubrovnik had one of the oldest pharmacies in the world called “Male Braće” (literal meaning: Little Brothers).The problem was that in the early 13th century, Venetians became a strong marketing force on the Mediterranean. Because of their power, from 1205 to 1358, they occupied Dubrovnik.
During Venetians reign, Dubrovnik wasn’t as weak as it seemed. It got islands of Lastovo and Mljet, as well as Ston and Pelješac peninsula under their ownership.
Even though on paper Dubrovnik seemed as an occupied state, it wasn’t. It was freer than the rest. All princes and institutions of authority were picked by Dubrovnik people. All they had to do was to pay a yearly tribute to the country.
Everything was solved when Venetia lost all islands and coast on the other side of the Adriatic with the signing of a “Zadar armistice” with Croatian-Hungarian king Ludwig I.
Ottomans Power and the Golden Ages
But that’s not all for the Dubrovnik Republic. In 1408, they have fallen under the power of Ottomans and thankfully, all they had to do was to pay a yearly tribute of 12,500 ducats to the Sultan and supply Ottoman colonies.
And as usual, they kept all rights to themselves. They had the right to be in relations with any other state and make agreements with them. And their ships sailed under Dubrovnik flags.
But did you know that during this time, the Dubrovnik Republic became the world’s first nation to abolish slavery? Yes, in 1416. While England did it in the 17th and the US in the 19th century.
In the 15th century, Republic spread to the areas of Cavtat (Epidaurus) and Konavle.
By the time of the next two centuries, this small Aristocratic country had its own marketing colonies all over the Ottoman Empire; in Constantinople, Solun, Belgrade, Bukuresht, Sarajevo and other parts of Balkan peninsula. They also had them in Italy (Florence, Ancona, Venetia…), Egypt (Alexandria and Cairo), and in the Middle East (Smyrna and Bursa).
This gave a huge privilege to the Ottomans since the main path of the Florence-Bursa route was crossing in Dubrovnik.
The result? Dubrovnik was the main threat to Venetians next to big powers like England, Spain, and Genova.
The End of the Republic
But every great state has to come to an end, and with Napoleon’s rise in the early 1800’s and the weakness of Turkish power, Dubrovnik became an easy target. It surrendered to 1200 French soldiers and their commander on May 27, 1806.
On January 31, 1808, The Republic of Ragusa ceases to exist when the general Marmot dissolved the Senate, Dubrovnik government and abolished The Republic. From 1808 to 1814 Dubrovnik was included in the Napoleon’s Kingdom of Italy and became one of the Illyrian provinces. In 1815, it became a part of the Habsburg Monarchy and was never independent again.
Today, Dubrovnik is a part of Croatia and the greatest touristic destination in the region.
This little state made a huge impact on the world and yet a lot of it is unknown. The moral of the story is; always have money. Well, joke aside, Dubrovnik people were very smart and they understood their worth. They didn’t let greater forces to destroy them and kept their state alive for five centuries.
In the second part of the series, we’ll get to the present more. I’ll show you the best places to visit in Dubrovnik including food, art, drinks, theatre, and others.
The next part is coming up next Tuesday! In the meantime, there will be other posts in fashion, beauty, and lifestyle.
What do you think about this article? It’s different than the rest for sure, but give me some feedback so I can know.
Are you visiting Dubrovnik anytime soon? Have you been there?